Trail

This sign points to Stóragjá, or Big Rift, a very cool underground hot pool on the eastern bank of Mývatn. At least I think this is the right trail. I walked it once ten or so years ago and after a few minutes' stroll found myself next to a fissure in a big head of lava that a rope ladder descended down into. We were to strip to our skivvies and climb down the ladder into the darkness of the lava formation, something I wasn't so sure about. Peer pressure won out, though, and I took one cautious step at a time into the unknown. About four or five feet down my toe dipped into water, warm water, pleasantly warm, hot tub temperature water, and as my eyes adjusted to the dark I realized that I was in an underground cavern about the size of an average kitchen, with a high ceiling and filled with very comfortable water. I was totally blown away! There was a slight ledge that I could almost sit on and light from outside to help reveal the rough design of this natural wonder. The only drawback was my constant worry that something was about to grab my toes and pull me under. But that's nothing new...I've had a phobia about lakes and their unseen inhabitants for ages. It's something about the stillness of the water that gets me. Give me a roiling ocean over a lake any day!

Anyway, I'm pretty sure this is the path we took to the underground pool. When I Googled Stóragjá I got this pretty cool picture and the key information that guides don't recommend dipping into the water because it's laden with bacteria due to slow water movement. So I guess it's another "at your own risk" Icelandic attraction. All I know is, I'm glad I did it, but I'm more glad I didn't know it was a bacteria soup before I went in!

4 comments:

Patrik said...

Awesome... beautiful country.

Natasha said...

Hello, I spent four months last year going to school in Akureyri (you helped me with my attempts at cooking lamb, after I realized the stuff I had bought was salted)

I love being able to read your blog and wax nostalgic about my adopted home... I sure miss Iceland, and all the wonderful, forthright, straightforward people. Thanks for keeping me updated

ps: I loved the fact that Detifoss, and Godafoss, and all the waterfalls had no barriers. For me it summed up Icelanders resilient independence and common sense. You wouldn't see a "Caution: contents are hot" on a coffee mug in Iceland.

Maria Alva said...

I remember you and your saltkjöt, Natasha. I hope you ended up having a good homecooked leg of lamb eventually!

It makes me so happy to find out that this blog is doing just what I always intended it to do, which is give little bits of interesting info and a great big visual view onto the Iceland I, and so many others, love.

Thanks for writing again, Natasha, and thanks, Patrik, for your input too!

Anonymous said...

The Mývatn area is a great place for hiking! I've been to Iceland several times and I love this country.